John Markum

Five Confirmations of God’s Will

FIVE CONFIRM“They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’–when the LORD has not spoken.”
Ezekiel 22:28

We all want to know God’s will: for our lives, vocations, families, hardships, and relationships. Aside from what the Bible directly tells us though, how do we know what God’s will is for us? I mean, the Bible didn’t tell me which college to go to, that my wife’s name would be “Tiffany”, what to name my kids, or that I was suppose to plant a new church in Silicon Valley. How do you know for sure when God is telling you to do something? How do I know? How does anyone know? How can you know?!

Here are five quick principles to seeking confirmation regarding something you feel God is leading you toward:

  1. Consistent with Scripture. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) God doesn’t contradict what He’s already said. If what you’re considering to be “God’s will” goes against the grain with what God’s word clearly says, reconsider your direction. God’s will is always according to His word.
  2. Affirmation from others. God’s will for your life may not be popular with everyone you know. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying, is that God strategically places people in our life to help us see our blind-spots. If all the people you trust spiritually are shaking their heads, there’s a strong chance you’re attempting to move outside of God’s will. In Matthew 18, while talking about confronting a brother or sister in Christ regarding a sin issue, Jesus adds, “ that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’” God confirms His will through fellow Christ-followers. If there is an obvious lack of such, reconsider your direction.
  3. Clear direction. Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God makes His will clear to us as we submit to His leadership. If your way seems very murky and unclear, it’s likely that God is not in it. And please note – there’s a substantial difference between clear and easy. Just because you know what God wants you to do, does not mean it won’t be a massive uphill battle.
  4. Motives in check. You must constantly be asking yourself the hard questions of understanding your own biases. I can convince myself that God has spoken or willed something over my life, when in reality “the Lord has not spoken” for me to pursue that. Much of the trouble we get ourselves into is for this very reason: we want something so bad that we convince ourselves that God wants it for us. This is why #2 is so important. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked – who can understand it?” This is why you can’t “follow your heart”… you must learn to “lead your heart.” Acknowledge your biases. Do what God actually wants you to do, and one day your heart will thank you.
  5. Faith is relationship-oriented, not task-oriented. Don’t you just wish sometimes, that God would drop a scroll from the Heavens containing specific, personal instructions for our individual lives and scenarios? I know I have. So why doesn’t God do that? From what I read in Scripture, God is far more interested in us knowing HIM, than in knowing His will. Don’t get me wrong – He wants us to know His will. But His much greater desire is that we draw closer to Him… and we find His will in the process. God is far more interested in who we are becoming than in what we are doing.

I’m going to say with a high degree of confidence that if you have none or few of these going for you, you’re out of God’s will. Or if you’re trying to manipulate the reality that you’re missing these five things, you should probably focus on #4 and #5.

However, if all five seem to be coming together in almost supernatural ways – you’ll know. You begin to realize that God seems to almost be doing it without you! You still have a part to play, and there may be a great deal of work to do on your part. But you realize that His will is sitting right in front of you. That’s when you know you’re on to something! May you find the pure and perfect will of God in your life – and may you more so find and know Him more personally and intimately than ever.

Pastor John

Discerning the Will of God: Part 1

I constantly know of people who are struggling to grasp the will of God. This is such a needed and important subject to talk about that I felt it necessary to split into 2 parts regarding individual choices and your life’s direction. To be sure, I believe the two are intertwined. Yet I’m going to deal with them separately as one feeds into the other.


For example:

  • Which college should I go to?
  • Should I ask out that girl?
  • Do I buy that new car?
  • Should I take this job?
  • Should I look for a new church home?
  • Should I vote for this person or that person?

So here are a few things to consider as you discern God’s will for single choices you make:

  1. What does Scripture say? Too many times we are looking for God to speak to us through some kind of sign, when we haven’t even looked to see what He says in His Word. It has been said that 95% of God’s will regarding choices we make are spelled out in His word. If not directly stated, what principles does the Bible talk about regarding, debt, relationships, influence, putting God first, work ethic, etc…
  2. What are the long-term rewards/consequences? every choice bears intended and unintended consequences. For instance, you may be aware that buying that new car will give you a $350/month car payment, but you didn’t realize until after you bought it, that your insurance would go up another$50/month! Think through the obstacles you’ll have to face, whether intentionally or not.
  3. What are the pro’s and con’s? Not just a list. Weigh each one. Any time I make a list of pro’s and con’s, I weigh the pro’s on a scale of 1 to 10, and the con’s on a scale of -1 to -10. This helps me see more than a long list and short list, but how much do those things actually weigh in my decision making.
  4. Have you prayed about it? Now I saved this one for last because of something that often frustrates me regarding people’s prayer life… There are some things that you just don’t need to pray about. Such as, “Do I wear the brown or black belt?” Who cares? Wear the one that matches! Or, “should I sleep with my girlfriend?” God already spoke in His word concerning that, you don’t need to pray about it. But when you have a major decision, yes, you should spend some time praying about it. How much time? That depends on the decision. You may need to spend several days praying about it… and fasting. More on fasting later, though.
  5. What do the people I trust think? Outside of my wife (which should be obvious), I have a handful of people that I go to when making a big choice. Not so that they can tell me what to do, but so that I gain their perspective. We have a saying on our staff when it comes to collaborative thought: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” The people I go to often help me see things that I had not thought about… or that I was trying to ignore. But I’m still responsible for my decision.

I’ll come back later with a slightly different take on the subject of finding God’s will for your life. Til then…




Proactive Prayer

In the Christian sub-culture, there is one phrase that seems to have become a stagnant cliche : “I’m praying about it.” What’s discouraging is that it is often a false statement also. “Ok, I didn’t really pray about it, I just thought about it, but God knows what I meant.” Yeah, God understands it: we’re lazy.

But what if there were something different about our prayers? What if we really believed that God was going to show up and respond to our situations because we asked Him to? What if we started living and acting with such certainty in God’s ability to come through for us that our choices after praying reflected an expectation for God to show up? What if we made bold – even risky – decisions for the kingdom of God because we genuinely believed God would be in it? Well that would be proactive prayer, which is not content to just pray about it, but to make plans to see God do it.

There was once a small country church in a rural, farm community where most of the folks’ livelihood came from their crops. The area was going through a drought, and crops were being lost as a result. The situation was looking pretty serious, so the pastor of the country church called for the whole church to pray and fast and ask God to send the rain and sustain them, calling on His promises to be a Provider to His people. They were to fast and pray until the following Sunday, when they would pray together as a church for the rain. But as people were showing up, the pastor was scolding them for their lack of faith in God to provide. They argued back, “But preacher! We do believe God will bring the rain. We’ve fasted and prayed all week expecting God to send the rain. Honest!” But the pastor snapped back, “Then where is your umbrella!?!”

Where do you get that kind of confidence that not only asks God to provide, but then takes action in expectation of Him to answer? How can you be that sure? You pray according to God’s will. How do you know God’s will? Simple: His word. God’s will is in God’s Word. Claim the promises of God’s Word in your life and walk in confidence that God is going to do what He promised He would. The difference between faith and hope is that hope says, “God I’m asking for this, and I want You to do it.” Faith says, “God, I’m asking for this, and You said You would do it.”

What are some things from the Word of God that You can claim as promises? I’ll share some of those thoughts later. In the meantime, look in His Word for yourself and discover what God has promised for His people.



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